Karnataka State Prisons and Correctional Services Department have initiated major reformative measures for more than 15,000 prisoners lodged in 50 prisons in the state under ‘Navachethana’ program. The program aims to reform the prisoners holistically by improving their physical and mental well being as well as their education and skill levels. The program aims to improve the self esteem of the prisoners and to make them capable of respectable life inside the prison as well as outside the prison after their release. The program also aims to bring major improvements in the working of prisons in the state.
A detailed study was carried out in all the 50 prisons in the state to understand individually the education and skill needs of 15000 prisoners. The study revealed that while about 7,000 prisoners in the state prisons i.e. 47% of the prisoners are illiterates or semi-literates, about 3,000 of the prisoners i.e. 21% of them are SSLC or Matriculate and another about 2100 of the prisoners i.e. 14% of them are either PUC or Diploma holders. Graduates and Postgraduates constitute about 7% of the prisoners i.e. about 1,000 of them. There are also Engineers, Doctors, Law Graduates and educationally highly qualified prisoners numbering about 100 in prisons in the state.
Now a massive ‘Literacy Program’ for all the 7,000 illiterate or semi-literate prisoners is being launched in all the 50 prisons in the State with the help of ‘Mass Education Department’ on the Karnataka Rajyotsava Day i.e. on 1st November, 2021. Uniqueness of the present literacy program is that the educated prisoners themselves shall work as the resource persons for giving literacy lessons to the illiterate prisoners in their respective prisons.
This massive ‘Literacy Program’ is one of the largest literacy programs ever attempted in the prisons not only in Karnataka state but in the country and is expected to boost the confidence and self esteem of the prisoners and shall be helpful in making them better citizen.
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To achieve this purpose ‘Mass Education Department of the state has been giving training to the educated prisoners in various prisons to work as the ‘resource persons’ for giving literacy classes. Even after release from the prisons, prisoners can continue with their literacy programs in their native or working places with the help of local centers of the ‘Mass Education Department of the government. For further educational requirement of the prisoners, ‘National Institute of Open Schooling’ is being involved with.
‘Mental and Physical Well Being’ component of the ‘Navachethana’ Program for both the 15000 prisoners and 3500 prison staff in the 50 prisons in the state has already been inaugurated by the Home Minister of Karnataka, Shri Araga Jnanendra on 26th August 2021 at the Central Prison Bangalore.
Under this program about 400 of the prison staff and more than 540 of the prisoners in Bangalore Central Prison have already been given training in Advance Yoga’ by the ‘Art of Living Foundation’, Bangalore since August 2021. These advanced yoga programs shall run continuously for all the 3500 prison staff and 15000 prisoners in the state. Help of other NGOs and organizations is also being taken to achieve this purpose
Photo : Manjunath Magdum